Big & Bold Define Calgary Airport's Expansion

November 7, 2016


Designed by architecture firm Dialog, The Calgary Airport Authority’s International Facilities Project adds two new concourses (D and E) and 24 additional gates to support the growing number of U.S. and international flights offered by YYC Calgary International Airport. With an area of 2 million sq ft., the new international terminal will also help position Calgary’s airport as a major connecting hub for Western Canada. This state-of-the-art terminal introduces innovative technologies and processes designed to improve efficiency and most importantly – the passenger experience. Entro created and implemented a multi-year implementation strategy and unique visual language to give passengers clarity and confidence when navigating through the space.

Given the eastward expansion, the entire terminal required renumbering in 2014. With the addition, the terminal’s C concourse would need to become ‘A’ at the west entrance moving towards the east to the new terminal where its future D and E concourse would be in 2016 As part of the update, the airport wanted to take a bolder approach to the graphics and signage. The wayfinding strategy was to provide sufficient visual information to provide comfort and self-assurance for the passenger while keeping the streamlined and modern terminal clear from clutter.

Neutral silvers and whites for the international terminal offer contrast to the bright blues and yellows in use in other concourses and ensure the right balance of messaging coverage versus subtlety. Big, bold type on large disc-shaped gate signage yields a playful, avant-garde look and feel, provides adequate legibility and allows for lower sign quantities. Comprehensive research for this design concept involved on-site passenger studies and accessibility testing.

During construction of the new terminal, Entro provided a transitional wayfinding system to ease in elements of the new international facility. We also renumbered the existing terminal gate numbers to ensure the new terminal fit seamlessly with the overall airport expansion and master plan.

Calgary Airport is pioneering many new features including a call-to-gate system for International and U.S. departures, which allows passengers to fully explore the airport amenities before heading to the gate. This model requires highly visible and strategically located flight information including digital screens that display all flight and gate information. To inform the best design solution, our team analyzed flight statistics and researched best practices for sorting information on Flight Information Displays (FIDS) at major international hubs.

Another new feature, the YYC LINK passenger shuttles, are driven by Customer Care Ambassadors that provide information about the airport and call attention to unique Calgary scenery while driving from concourse to concourse behind the secure area. For this inter-terminal transit system, Entro developed system naming, branding and a comprehensive wayfinding program that integrates the overall airport standard.

Entro’s environmental graphics program forms an integral part of the architecture and provides the necessary directive components. The airport now has a comprehensive complement of signs, including: signage and directories for the parking garage, check-in halls, the arrivals meeter greeter area, central departures areas, security and customs facilities, baggage claim, service areas, shops and restaurants and displays for the airport themeworks program.

Having transformed the airport environment from a transitory setting to a destination on its own, this terminal and the many new features at YYC Calgary International Airport will give passengers a true sense of place during their travels. The new terminal opened to the public on October 31st.